Nearly 70 Years Later, WWII Vet Finally Receives His Medals

Nearly 70 Years Later, WWII Vet Finally Receives His Medals

Sixty-eight years after being discharged from the Army, 93-year-old Clarence Pedigo got the medals honoring his service.
ROLAND, AR -- Clarence Pedigo had his shiny medals and ribbons proudly on display Tuesday morning.
They are honors to his service Pedigo never thought he'd get but surely deserves.

"The screams... you can't believe," the 93-year-old Pedigo said.  "It'd make your hair stand up."

As we sat in Pedigo's living room, he recalled the horrors of World War II.

"The smell of dead bodies, you'd have to almost experience it to know what it was like," he said.

Pedigo enlisted in the Army when he was 20 and served during some of the heaviest fighting of the Pacific campaign.

In the Philippines, Pedigo became ill and fell into a coma. When his dog tags and belt were mailed to his family, they figured he was dead.

"They got burnt stuff that was sent back to my dad, and they felt I was gone," he said.

Pedigo was found by his uncle at a hospital in Hawaii. He came out of the coma after three months and returned home to Arkansas.

It wasn't until this September, 68 years after Pedigo was discharged, that he got a package.

"I just went out to the mailbox, and there it was," he said.

The package contained a Bronze Star, American Campaign Medal and several medals, badges and ribbons.

The former soldier couldn't help but get excited looking over the medals he'd earned so long ago.

It's not entirely clear what took Pedigo took so long to receive his medals. There was a fire in 1973 that destroyed some military documents, and that may have contributed to the delay.
The office of congressman Tim Griffin has been working with Pedigo and his family to make sure he gets the honor he deserves.
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